Jury duty is often dreaded by employees due to the frequent negative interaction it can cause employers that are not familiar with the law. The desire for employers to operate in a normal fashion can leave the employee at odds with the jurisdiction that has legally summoned their presence. Below is a look at jury duty leave laws and how to avoid confusion in what is required of employers.
Requirements of Jury Duty Leave Law in California
Employers are legally responsible to provide the time needed for employees to answer to a summons for jury duty and partake in this civic duty without encumbrance, harassment or threat of being fired. Any breach of this can bring about misdemeanor charges and fines. Employers are not required to reimburse an employee for lost time resulting from jury duty unless they are paid a set salary. The employer will be required to pay the employee the same weekly amount regardless under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Benefits of Encouraging Civic Duty Participation
Every business should have a policy in place to handle jury duty. It is better to be upfront and clear with employees as to what your expectations are and what you are willing to reimburse. It will also serve to put an employee on notice that they need to let you know as early as possible so that you can make arrangements for their absence.
Will I Be Reimbursed For Compensating Employees For Jury Duty?
Many employers opt to compensate employees for serving on a jury, even though it is not required. This is something that any employee can appreciate and will help cultivate company loyalty, but there is rarely an instance when you will receive reimbursement. The employee is required to reimburse you for any funds they have received for jury duty if you compensate their pay, but the courts will not offer any reimbursement to employers.
Can Employees Postpone Jury Duty For A Better Time?
There are seasonal industries that the courts will help accommodate by allowing an employee to postpone jury duty for as long as six months. The employee will have the option of choosing the new, more agreeable date.
What If My Company Cannot Afford To Be Without The Employee?
The courts do understand that it is difficult to run operations with missing critical employees, but they expect that arrangements can be made to be without them for one to seven days, or the duration of their jury duty deployment.
Can I Contact An Employee During Jury Duty?
There is no reason that an employee and employer cannot remain in communication during the jury duty process. The only requirements are that the employee cannot discuss the trial with an employer.
What If My Employee Is Released After A Half-Day?
If the employee contacts you and they have not spent the entire day in jury service, you can request that they finish the day at the job site. As long as it is practical for the employer to make it to the business in a reasonable time you can ask them to work the remainder of the day.
You can feel good about helping serve your community by allowing all employees to take jury duty leave when needed. This is an easy way to help ensure the court system is operating smoothly and that everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard by a jury of their peers.